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Breed Profiles
Dog Breeds

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Select the dog breed you are interested in from the list below.
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Irish Wolfhound

You can find the contact details for specific breed societies local to you by going to the Your Territory area.

You may want to post any specific questions that you have about this breed in our Pet Talk area to ask people with first hand experience.

Irish Wolfhound

General
OtherNames Wolfdog, Irish Greyhound, Great Dog of Ireland
Dog Group Kennel Club Hound
Breed Classification The Irish Wolfhound is a member of the hound group. They were originally bred for hunting wolves; today they are companions and seen in the show ring.
Cost of Ownership
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Average Food Cost
>£15
Feeding Requirements
Diet should be monitored as this breed grows rapidly as a puppy. The breeder will be able to advise on the correct diet in the correct amounts. As bloat is known in the breed, it is recommended that the adult dog be fed twice daily, rather than one large meal once a day. The feeding bowl should be raised off the ground and at a height where the dog does not have to bend down. As the puppy grows the height of the bowl will have to be adjusted accordingly.
Other Expenses
The average cost of a puppy is £750.
Average Puppy Price
£500-800
Lifespan
< 9 years
Average Litter Size
8
General Physical Description
The tallest and largest breed of the hound group, these muscular, powerful dogs have a commanding appearance whilst still being gracefully built. Their coats consist of harsh, rough and rather unkempt-looking hair. Their long legs cover the ground in an easy, active manner.
Height Min Max
Bitch 71cm 0cm
Dog 79cm 0cm
Weight Min Max
Bitch 41kg 0kg
Dog 55kg 0kg
Size Category Extra Large
Weight Height Range Dogs should measure over 79cms at the withers and ideally weigh over 54.5kgs. Bitches should ideally measure over 71cms at the withers and weigh over 40.9kgs. Please note there is no maximum height or maximum weight stated.
Ailments The most common causes of death in the Irish Wolfhound are bloat, cancer and heart disease. They also have growth problems so feeding and exercise are very important particularly in the growing dog. Wolfhounds are very difficult to breed from and mothers have to be constantly monitored during the first 3 weeks or so as they can very easily crush their puppies by accident.
Common Ailments
Susceptibility To Illness
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Pet health and vet advice

Medium
Other
History The Celts invaded Greece in 275 BC and there acquired dogs similar to greyhounds that then accompanied them on their conquests around Europe. These dogs may then have been crossed with mastiff type dogs to produce even larger dogs. The Romans then found these dogs when they invaded Britain in the early centuries AD. There are stories from Ireland of a great Irish hound in 200 BC to 200 AD. From written records of the 5th century it is known that breeding of dogs resembling the wolfhound type was very organised and profitable. So profitable that many of them were sold abroad, and given as gifts to royalty. These dogs were used for guarding, hunting boar, stag, elk and wolf. In the 15th and 16th centuries this hound was mainly used for hunting wolves. As so many of these Wolfhounds were being exported and wolves were still a problem in Britain in the mid 1600ís, Oliver Cromwell stopped their export. When the last wolf was allegedly killed in Ireland in 1780 the Wolfhound decreased in numbers, so much so that it almost died out. Towards the end of the 1800ís the Wolfhound was starting to make a slow comeback. They were being bred with Deerhounds and crossed occasionally to the Borzoi and Great Dane. They were first shown in the 1870ís.
Intelligence The Irish Wolfhound is a relatively easy dog to train. A gentle approach, with plenty of understanding, will be rewarded by an obedient dog. As puppies, they are very quiet and well behaved. Jumping up should be discouraged from day one as adult dogs can weigh a lot and will easily knock people over.
Show Characteristics The Irish Wolfhound should have a large head with a long muzzle. The jaws should be strong and have a complete scissor bite. Both the nose and the lips should be black. The eyes should be oval and dark in colour. The ears should be small in size, rose-shaped, hanging away from the face and dark in colour. The neck should be long, strong, muscular and well arched with no loose skin at the throat. The chest should be very deep and the back long with the belly being well drawn up. The front legs should straight, strong and muscular, the back legs, strong, muscular and long. The feet should be large and round with well arched toes. The tail should be long, slightly curved and be well covered with hair. The coat should be rough and harsh and wiry over the eyes and jaw. The colours desired are grey, steel grey, brindle, red, black, white, fawn and wheaten.
Country Of Origin Ireland
Famous Examples
Records Held
Characteristics
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Energy Low
Overall Exercise 40 - 60 minutes
Distress Caused if Left Alone High
Personal Protection High
Suitability As Guard Dog Low
Risk of Sheep Worrying High
Tendency to Bark Low
Ease of Transportation High
Level of Aggression Low
Compatibility With Other Animals High
Suitable For Children
High
General Character And Temperament The Irish Wolfhound is a friendly, loyal dog with a laid back outlook on life who rarely barks. They get on well with children and other dogs, although, in play, they can sometimes forget how big they actually are so they should be supervised when playing with smaller children and other pets. They are, however, gentle natured dogs and are calm and level-headed indoors, making them great companions. All visitors will be welcomed with a friendly greeting!
Grooming
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Coat Length Short/Medium
Grooming Requirement < Once a week
Trimming
Requires Professional Groomer
Grooming They do need regular grooming with brush and comb to keep the coat in good condition and it may be necessary to hand pluck them twice a year when they start to shed the dead hair.
Colour The Irish Wolfhound can be grey, steel grey, brindle, red, black, white, cream, fawn or wheaten in colour.
Shedding Little
Suffers From Allergies
Tendency to Cause Allergies

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